—Systemic change begins with personal change—

715: My mom, Marie Spodek, part 3: Starting a food coop and making ends meet as a single mom in a food desert with three kids


I've written about how people act like food coops don't work for people without resources like time and money or who have kids. It took me a long time to realize they didn't see food coops being started because the people starting them didn't have time or money and had kids. When my parents couldn't make ends meet, then after they divorced and struggled more to make ends meet, forming cooperative groups was their way out of poverty. Luckily nobody told them they couldn't do it! Likewise with the people behind Drew Gardens in the Bronx, Harlem Grown, my credit union, or countless other results of community organizing. I wrote about it in If you think food coops cost more or complain that some people don’t have access to them, you don’t know what you’re talking about and are exacerbating the problem, but my mom was there. In this episode we talk about how they helped organize a group of families to save money and time to buy higher quality food. Later that group folded into Weavers Way coop, which is one of my favorite parts of my childhood. I didn't recognize it as such as a child, though.

534: Mom, part 2: Opportunity and oppression: race and religion in my childhood


I recorded my second conversation with my mom about my childhood and before during the pandemic, in the spring of 2020. Shortly after recording our first conversation, which covered race, George Floyd was murdered. You know the rest. I knew we had spent years as white minorities in India and in a black neighborhood in Philadelphia, at least part time. I was curious to learn more of the time she would have remembered better. In this episode we talk about being redlined, being the victim of race-based violence and objectifying, as well as the access to opportunity to resources for our skin color. Also friends who narrowly escaped Hitler, why my mom converted from Lutheran to Judaism, and bringing classes of her black students from Chicago in the 1960s to where she grew up in South Dakota, where the students observed that Native Americans had it worse, at least as they saw it. I've never understood the world people describe me coming from. I'm curious to hear the white experience from suburbs, never having lived as a minority, little crime or violence, never mugged, or whatever it's like. I presume it's no easier for them than anyone else, but it's foreign to me. I think if I learned it, I'd understand what people see in me. Anyway, my mom took a long time to agree to post this episode. I'm not sure her reasons, but I think America has so polarized talking about race that non-partisan mainstream people fear the consequences from those who benefit from polarizing from even simply sharing their personal experiences. I hope this episode helps defuse.

325: My Mom, Marie Spodek: All in the Family


I thought about recording with parents for a while. Environmental action is personal and people keep asking me what motivates me. Well, now you'll get almost 50 years more background. Another issue with family and changing habits, lots of people talk and ask about challenges of changing others or selves within close relationships. This episode will give you my background, environmental and otherwise, how it affects our relationship, her views, and some dirty laundry. Both my mom and I think or hope you'll enjoy toward the end, where we talk past each other. We think you'll find it funny, though frustrating for us. For context and what precipitated doing this episode now: COVID-19 has led me to live in her and her husband's (my stepfather) house outside New York City. We haven't lived in such close proximity since the 80s. Understandings in some areas have increased but decreased in others. You'll hear at the end that she asks for feedback. I hope you'll give her and me feedback. For my part, I enjoyed the conversation and in a whole mother-son relationship. It's not the worst thing, but I feel misunderstood about my motivations, as you'll hear. I wonder how many people see me as someone actually depriving himself trying to make a point, not realizing I'm just sacrificing.

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